David Guetta criticised for “tone deaf” tribute to George Floyd during DJ set

David Guetta
David Guetta performing in Miami during his previous United at Home live stream in support of COVID-19 relief on April 18, 2020. (Image credit: John Parra/Getty Images for The Media Nanny)

The judgement of DJ and producer David Guetta has been called into question after he offered what’s been described as a “tone deaf” tribute to George Floyd, the latest black American to die while in police custody, during a livestream.

During his United At Home fundraiser, in which Guetta performed from New York, Guetta said: “The world is going through difficult times, and America too, actually. So, last night, I knew we were going to do this, and I made a special record. So this record is in honour of George Floyd, and I really hope we can see more unity, and more peace, when already things are so difficult. So, shout out to his family.”

Guetta then remixed Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech, a defining moment of the American civil rights movement and widely regarded as one of the most important speeches of the 20th Century, with an EDM record.

Scottish producer and DJ Hudson Mohawke was quick to call out Guetta on Twitter, posting the clip with the words: “Dono where to start w[ith] counting the levels of tone deaf and wrong here.” The video has since been viewed more than a million times.

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Though most were sympathetic to the sentiments behind Guetta’s tribute, many Twitter commentators felt it to be misjudged. 

Since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on 25 May, protests have spread across the US, with musicians including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish all making statements condemning police brutality.

Online educator Mike Johnson, meanwhile, said: “if you’re a paid  member of Mikeslessons.com and you think that what happened to George Floyd was justified in any way, shape or form, please email me and I will refund your dues for this month, I will cancel your membership and we will be done. That’s all.“

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.